It's not easy to read Stephen King's reference to 400-pounders as "monstrous" in his nonfiction book, Danse Macabre. The assumption that all fat people would "be thin" if they only "ate right" and did everything as they were supposed to refuses to heed the human body's complexities. Societal stupidity and lack of common sense rules when it comes to obesity.
Generations ago, society tied extreme fatness to other so-called "freaks" --like dwarves ["Little People" today], three legged men with parasitic twins and two-headed [conjoined twins] babies. In the early 1900s, extremely fat people could make a living, based on their own exploitation. Part of the "freak show" required fat people to sit on big chairs or hauled around in trailers for public view. Many myths built around these people, who often exaggerated their weight in order to earn more money. [the cut off for circus material being around 450lbs].
The "side show" never really died, during the 1990s, we had different sideshows that gave brief glimpses into the super-fat person's world. Talk show hosts like Geraldo Rivera, Jerry Springer, Jenny Jones and Ricki Lake lined up large people on the television catwalk to be gawked at and stared at. Danny an 800lb man, became notorious for having Springer knock out a wall from his house--so he could get chest pains examined and get to a diet center. Jenny Jones had the super-obese kid parade.
But Danny's not the only corpulent person to have some brush with infamy. You can draw a red line from circus fat ladies like Dolly Dimples to Walter Hudson, the 1,000 pound New York City resident who required help from city firefighters after he fell into a narrow doorway and got trapped to today's shows like Inside Brookhaven Obesity Clinic on Discovery Networks and other shows like this one:
Here you see the giant amounts of food, plates of cookies, prodigious pizza eating with the incredible food intake as part of the show.
33,000 calories a day could be possible for some very food addicted person, [even that denotes severe physiological or psychological problems] but then the world over estimates the overeating required to watch one's weight rise and denies other realities. Bruce Snowdon in the book Shocked and Amazed, a 712 lb man that used to tour with a modern circus show, surmises..."I have a routine of how I eat 50,000 calories worth of food at a time. I probably only eat about twice as much again as you do. Instead of one TV dinner, I'll eat two TV dinners, but I don't eat 25 chickens and a barrel of beer, thirty pancakes, two dozen eggs, sixteen pounds of bacon, that could kill a sperm whale never mind a human being."
I know too well personally rocketing over a certain weight instantly puts you in the "freak show" category, though so many people are getting fatter in America, the "specialness" factor is diminishing. Normal fat people can go to the mall, buy clothes off the rack, dance at a club, and attempt to sit on folding chairs when that 400lb mark is crossed, life becomes very different. I wouldn't wish the eye-popping stares that I got when I crossed into the circus fat threshold on anyone. Going from large to circus lady fat in a matter of a few years, was an incredible mind-bender.
After this many years, I'm used to things but then after running from the big city ghetto where little differences or vulnerability gathered too much attention, I got spoiled living in a very friendly small town for almost 10 years where I was far from the fattest person once I lost that first chunk of weight. There would be at least 3 people on scooters near my size at the local Wal-mart. People got used to me, made friends, became part of the community. I ended up having to move due to economic reasons, but at least realized how life could be.
Over the years, observing the circus fat ladies, and our modern variation thereof, and thinking of how they are seen as their bodies first, one wonders what does that do to a soul? How many are actually allowed to tell the truth about what life is like? How many remain voiceless being in one of the most low status categories [most even poor and on disability] that exists in America? How many have been able to come to a place of dignity, amidst all the gawking, staring and jokes? I know that truth about obesity has been in short supply. America better stop the staring, gawking and wake up, because the numbers of super-obese are rapidly increasing to mind-boggling levels.